Chelsea transfers: Zouma departure opens the door for Kounde

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Kurt Zouma of Chelsea during Arsenal v Chelsea: The Mind Series at Emirates Stadium on August 1, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Kurt Zouma of Chelsea during Arsenal v Chelsea: The Mind Series at Emirates Stadium on August 1, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images) /

Chelsea has been hard at work this summer, even though many supporters will fail to realize this when viewing the club’s incomings. The word being tossed around most often throughout the last few months has been the polar opposite, outgoings. The Blues have focused a majority of their efforts on raising funds through exports. After all, it’s this money that helped pay for Romelu Lukaku’s record transfer already during the transfer window. The benefits aren’t solely financial either. Thomas Tuchel had 42 players at his disposal during one point in preseason, ridding the squad of a plethora of reserve players was always a necessity.

There is now less than a week left in the 2021 summer transfer window. Come August 31, a handful of current Chelsea players will have departed the club—either permanently or on loan. Those names include former members of the loan army like Ross Barkley and Danny Drinkwater, as well as those involved with the first team that are currently on the fringe, such as Ethan Ampadu and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. However, the most important player rumored to be leaving Stamford Bridge this summer is centerback Kurt Zouma.

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Kurt Zouma’s departure will have a domino effect, opening the door for Chelsea to move for Sevilla centerback Jules Kounde

This may come as a shock to some seeing as he’s Chelsea’s most capped centerback over the last two seasons. Zouma was seemingly irreplaceable under Frank Lampard’s regime as he complimented a number of defenders beside him in a back four. The 26-year-old has long been one of the Blues’ most promising centerhalves, so why is he departing?

Long story short, there isn’t much use for him in Tuchel’s system. Zouma is a solid—not great—defender in a back three, which seems to be the plan going forward for the German manager. He’s only got two years left on his current contract, which is ironically more than any other Chelsea defender, meaning the club could maximize profits on him this summer. If Zouma spent another season in SW6 not playing much under the new manager, it’s unlikely he would’ve extended, thus decreasing his value even further. Zouma was offered up to Sevilla initially before Spurs and West Ham became interested. In the end, it seems as if the latter will win the race for the talented centerback.

Zouma’s departure also opens up the door for the Blues to make an incredible move in the same area of the pitch. The spot freed up in the defense will allow Chelsea to cement its interest in Sevilla centerback Jules Kounde before it’s too late. The player agreed to personal terms with the Blues about a month ago, but the two clubs never saw eye-to-eye on a proper fee. It is rumored that Marina Granovskaia will return with an improved bid once Kounde’s compatriot is off Chelsea’s books.

Kounde offers the Blues a few different things that Zouma simply cannot. The main talking points around this move will be the Sevilla man’s age and potential. Kounde, just 22, is seen as someone with world class potential. Chelsea has already missed out on the same type of players in Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate, so this is the reigning Champions League winner’s shot at solidifying its defense for the long-term. Further, Kounde suits both a back three and a back four. He’s seen by the Blues’ scouting department and Tuchel as the perfect ball-carrying centerback.

Kounde’s arrival would mean Chelsea is essentially two deep at every centerback position with Trevoh Chalobah also staying put. There would be no pressure on Kounde to start right away, he’d be allowed to ease into life in the Premier League thanks to the excellence of Cesar Azpilicueta. He’s seen as one of the centerpieces to the Blues’ future back line, alongside Andreas Christensen, who is expected to sign a contract extension and remain with the club for the foreseeable future.

Regardless of supporter opinions, the acquisition of a high profile player like Kounde—in addition to the transfer of Romelu Lukaku a few weeks ago—goes a long way when displaying the club’s commitment to backing Tuchel. Chelsea is also said to be exploring a deal for Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez in the final days of the window. The talks are said to be centered around a season-long loan with the option to buy.

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What do you make of the Blues’ business this summer? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!